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Radiology Among the Most Male-Dominated Specialties, But Pay Gap May Be Narrowing

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Radiology remains one of the most male-dominated specialties, but the overall pay gap between male and female specialists may be narrowing, according to new data.

Medscape released its annual Physician Compensation Report on Friday, April 14, naming radiology as the seventh highest paid specialty at $483,000. The number is about 10% higher than the $437,000 average annual compensation reported in last year’s survey. Only oncologists (13%) and gastroenterologists (11%) saw bigger year-over-year gains, survey data show.

Meanwhile, radiology ranks fifth from last in specialties with the highest number of female physicians at 19%. That’s down slightly from the 23% figure recorded in 2022 and well shy of more female-dominated specialties such as OB-GYN (No. 1 at 62%), pediatrics (59%), and diabetes/endocrinology (54%).

On the positive side, Medscape found that the gender pay gap has narrowed for the first time in five years. Male specialists earned an average of 27% more than their female colleagues ($415,000 vs. $327,000), down from 31% in 2022, and 33% in 2021. The racial pay gap, however, has not budged, with black doctors earning about 13% less than their white counterparts, in line with previous surveys.

“While there is more work to be done, the progress on gender pay disparities was a positive development in this year's report,” Leslie Kane, senior director, Medscape Business of Medicine, said in a statement. “That said, the issue of physician burnout, fueled by long hours and bureaucratic burdens, continues to have an impact on how physicians view their careers, their satisfaction with pay, and other aspects of medicine.”

On the burnout-related front, radiologists spent an average of 11 hours per week on paperwork and administration. That’s good for third fewest on Medscape’s list and far shy of the 19 hours spent by rehab specialists and 18 hours clocked by several other specialties. Radiologists worked an average of 49.6 hours a week, with critical care taking the top spot at 57.7 and allergy/immunology last at 44.1.

Members of the specialty earned the third highest incentive bonus at $80,000, behind only orthopedists ($134,000) and cardiologists ($88,000). “We’re not seeing many employers go to a flat fixed salary,” Mike Belkin, divisional VP at Merritt Hawkins, told Medscape. “There can be different types of incentive plans, but we still see the incentive bonus as a pretty important piece to physicians.”

About 58% of radiologists surveyed said they feel fairly compensated, good for seventh on the list. Psychiatry took the top spot at 68% while infectious disease specialists were last at 35%. And about 90% of radiologists said they’d choose the profession again, with plastic surgeons taking the top spot (97%) and internal medicine at the bottom of the list (61%).

Medscape surveyed a total of more than 10,000 physicians across 29 specialties including about 300 radiologist respondents. You can find much more from the survey at the link below. The company also released its 2023 Radiologist Lifestyle, Happiness & Burnout Report in February.

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Schedule14 Jun 2024